By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
Nearly 30 years ago, a dreadlocked frontman of an eerie groove metal band exploded onto the scene. The man is Rob Zombie, and the group was White Zombie. When La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One debuted to the world on March 31, 1992, the metal scene changed for the better. White Zombie unfortunately disbanded in 1998, but Rob Zombie continued his horrific metal career with a slew of hit albums, including Hellbilly Deluxe, The Sinister Urge, and Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor. Newly signed to the Nuclear Blast label, Zombie looks to give 2021 a much-needed ghoulish wake-up call with his seventh studio album, The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy. I have been waiting for this album since he joined the Nuclear Blast family, so let us see if Count Dragula is still more human than human.
“Expanding the Head of Zed” introduces to us what is in store, then we head into the first single, “The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition).” It has a groovy melody where Zombie screeches and snarls a wretched voice. Longtime guitar partner John 5 adds in the sci-fi elements to his solo that makes it sound suspenseful. It is a good start, but he could have picked a different first single. “The Ballad of Sleazy Rider” is a big improvement. It just oozes sleaziness as John 5 combines avant-garde with thrash and groove. He is arguably one of the best guitarists out there today. Bassist Piggy D and drummer Ginger Fish are mad scientists with the beat, bringing disturbing beauty to the melody. “Hovering Over the Dull Earth” is a trippy interlude that plays perfectly into the next track, “Shadow of the Cemetery Man.” The catchiness of industrial and groove metal Zombie is experimenting with in this tune is a lethal combo. While a warlock, he conjures up sinister vocals that would draw in a sexy mama. I love the steady beating Fish gives to the kit, while John 5 adds some country twang to his guitar playing. After the short, beguiling interlude of “A Brief Static Hum and Then the Radio Blared,” we come to an interesting number in “18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks and a One-Way Ticket on the Ghost Train.” For the verses, John 5, Piggy, and Fish dish out some Southern flair with a bluegrass infused rhythm that includes a fiddle. Once we reach the chorus, Zombie screams to get onboard the ghost train. I do not know where this song fits in with the rest of the album, but I do respect the risk they took.
“The Eternal Struggles of the Howling Man” brings Zombie back to familiar ground. This song would fit in perfectly with any classic White Zombie album, as the musicianship is explosive. Straight up groove with a smidge of R&B that is suited for 70s skin flicks, this is one my favorite songs he has done since “Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown.” We now come to “The Much Talked of Metamorphosis.” John 5 whips out his acoustic and charms us with a romantic riff. Then the romance disappears as we come to “The Satanic Rites of Blacula.” Piggy D brings out the funk with an infectious bass lick that synchronizes strikingly with John 5’s raw and ragged riffs. Another great one by one of the Twins of Evil. After hearing some short, trippy vibes off “Shower of Stones,” the sinister fun begins on “Shake Your Ass-Smoke Your Grass.” Zombie takes aim at pop culture and happy pop songs that just plain sucks to him (and me). The solo that John 5 plays screams old school hard rock fun. It also features a danceable beat that would make diehard metalheads want to dance. Fans of stoner rock or metal would dig this tune. “Boom-Boom-Boom” churns out a contagious groove that throws doom metal into the sound. Zombie pays homage to witches out there while John 5 fingers a riff that would belong on a surf record like the Beach Boys. The addition of keyboards makes it stronger. “What You Gonna Do with That Gun Mama?” is a spacey interlude, while “Get Loose” is just raw and in your face. There is a sitar playing in this song and for some strange reason, it works well with the industrial flow. After listening to the last interlude in “The Serenity of Witches,” the hellacious journey ends with “Crow Killer Blues.” Zombie’s longest track off the LP clocking in at 5 minutes, it has the feel of melodic death metal, which is something I love. He pulls it off as his voice is at its most vicious yet. For him, this is how close out an album.
Zombie says it best, you are never gonna stop him and he never will stop. The original Lord of Salem delivers a fine record that I feel is a vast improvement over 2016’s The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser. I enjoyed the massive musical experimentation featured on this album, and while it was far from perfect, it was still sinister enough to revel in. The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy is must have for anyone who consider themselves a Hellbilly. To Rob Zombie, I salute you. Horns up, and feed the Gods!!!
01. Expanding the Head of Zed
02. The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)
03. The Ballad of Sleazy Rider
04. Hovering Over the Dull Earth
05. Shadow of the Cemetery Man
06. A Brief Static Hum and Then the Radio Blared
07. 18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks and a One-Way Ticket On the Ghost Train
08. The Eternal Struggles of the Howling Man
09. The Much Talked of Metamorphosis
10. The Satanic Rites of Blacula
11. Shower of Stones
12. Shake Your Ass-Smoke Your Grass
14. What You Gonna Do with That Gun Mama
15. Get Loose
16. The Serenity of Witches
17. Crow Killer Blues
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